Carpenter apprenticeship

Description of an apprenticeship as a Carpenter

Table of Contents

Carpenter apprenticeship

DOT code: 860.381-022.

Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook for a detailed description of this trade. Type the trade name in the search box and hit enter.


Constructs, erects, installs, and repairs structures and fixtures of wood, plywood, and wallboard, using carpenter's handtools and power tools, and conforming to local building codes: Studies blueprints, sketches, or building plans for information pertaining to type of material required, such as lumber or fiberboard, and dimensions of structure or fixture to be fabricated. Selects specified type of lumber or other materials. Prepares layout, using rule, framing square, and calipers. Marks cutting and assembly lines on materials, using pencil, chalk, and marking gauge. Shapes materials to prescribed measurements, using saws, chisels, and planes. Assembles cut and shaped materials and fastens them together with nails, dowel pins, or glue. Verifies trueness of structure with plumb bob and carpenter's level. Erects framework for structures and lays subflooring. Builds stairs and lays out and installs partitions and cabinet work. Covers subfloor with building paper to keep out moisture and lays hardwood, parquet, and wood‑strip‑block floors by nailing floors to subfloor or cementing them to mastic or asphalt base. Applies shock‑absorbing, sound‑deadening, and decorative paneling to ceilings and walls. Fits and installs prefabricated window frames, doors, door frames, weather stripping, interior and exterior trim, and finish hardware, such as locks, letter drops, and kick plates. Constructs forms and chutes for pouring concrete. Erects scaffolding and ladders for assembling structures above ground level. May weld metal parts to steel structural members.

Work process schedule

Task Hours
A. Foundations, walls, and floors 1500
B. Framing (foundations and walls) 800
C. Roofs 700
D. Exterior mill work 1000
E. Interior wall coverings 500
F. Floors 500
G. Stairs 500
H. Interior finish 1000
I. Miscellaneous 1500
(Every 2,000 hours = one year) total hours: 8000

A detailed description and expanded work process schedule for this trade can be accessed by clicking on the work process folder shown above.

Related technical instruction

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires 150 hours each year of related technical instruction which must be mastered by the apprentice in order to successfully complete the program. A summary of the related technical instruction for the carpenter trade is as follows. For further information, please call the Division of Apprentice Standards at (617) 626-5409.

1. Accident prevention, first aid, safety hazards, State and Federal safety codes and regulations. Safety courses per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.

2. Ethics and history of the trade.

3. Tools and materials of the trade.

4. Review and application of basic materials.

5. Elementary blueprint reading and freehand sketching.

6. Foundations: types and layout.

7. Rough framing: types, plumbing, leveling, and alignment.

8. Exterior finishes: kinds and use.

9. Interior finishes: kinds and use.

10. Roof framing: all types and combination.

11. Stair building and finishing.

12. Cabinetmaking: on-the-job and installation.

13. Reinforced concrete form construction: materials, types, devices, and their use.

14. Heavy timber construction, framing.

15. Welding: gas and arc, vertical, horizontal, and overhead.

16. Acoustics and drywall: types and their use, layout, cutting welding, and installing.

17. Plastics and resilients: types and their use, layout, cutting, welding, and installing.

Additional Resources